We’re seeing it more and more, the use of brand promotions to build community on social media outposts. But many in the blogging community have scoffed at such practices, saying that growth should not be bought but earned through a long-term engagement strategy. By reading these critical posts one might be led to think that rewards and engagement are mutually exclusive, but in practice both are needed to build a thriving community while driving a solid return on investment (ROI).
Show me the money
Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other communities offer tremendous customer loyalty building opportunities. In fact, a recent survey found that a majority of consumers who follow a brand on social media do so to receive rewards or incentives. Why not take advantage of this to satisfy eager consumers and in the process drive buying behavior? This presents a tremendous opportunity for social media marketers to demonstrate the ROI that so many brand leadership teams are seeking to define.
Don’t forget engagement
Your community reward strategy shouldn’t spell the end of engagement. Continue to connect and strengthen relationships. Add value in any way possible that coincides with your overall brand strategy. A more engaged community leads to elevated brand awareness and preference. Heightened engagement also offers market research and customer service opportunities. All of these should continue, but not preempt the rewards you offer for sticking with your brand.
Striving for a sound balance between rewards and engagement is the key to a successful social media loyalty strategy.
What do you think? Can rewards and engagement coexist? What brands have you noticed that are striking this balance?
Author: Steve Sonn
Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.